Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Kalb Report with Thomas Friedman

From the Kalb Report site about the program:

As the fall-out from Edward Snowden’s leak to the media of the U.S. government’s massive surveillance programs—including recent court rulings involving the constitutionality of these programs—continues to reverberate around the world, moderator Marvin Kalb and guest Thomas L. Friedman, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and author, will discuss the evolving intersection of national security and freedom of the press.

Kalb asked Friedman what is freedom. His response was freedom is the ability, the desire, the drive to realize my full potential as a human being. This was especially in the context of the Arab Spring. He added that there is freedom from and freedom to. In the Arab Spring context the freedom from was the dictatorship of Mubarak. The freedom to could be Islamic fundamentalist or the belief in a sectarian regime. The point implied the freedom to some might not always match what our notion of freedom might be.

They went on to talk about privacy and Friedman said privacy is over get use to it. He added that another attack like 9/11 people lead people to say do what you have to to keep us safe. Also said that the attacks eroded people’s trust. Not so much in government but in feeling safe. Now planes aren’t safe. There are people running around blowing themselves up. That makes people want to close themselves off. And that means the terrorists win.

This lead into talking about Eric Snowden. Friedman wouldn’t take a position one way or the other about if he would have been involved in writing about Snowden’s files. He did say that the technology has is so far ahead of the law in this matter. He added he goes back and forth on what he thinks about Snowden. He does believe Snowden should come back to this country. He thinks Snowden would get a fair trial if he did. Friedman added be thought the revelations have lead to a healthy discussion of what government should and shouldn’t be looking into.

There was a funny momement that Friedman talked about after his last book was published. His publisher asked what the next subject Friedman wanted to write on. Friedman said golf. The publisher said as in the Persian Gulf. Friedman added he’s always wanted to write a book on golf.

Another point Friedman made was that his columns reach many more people in the information age. He talked how the New York Times had a Chineses language version of the web site. It just so happens right now China is blocking it but people are still with a few extra steps able to reach and read it.

Toward the end of the discussion Friedman raised this very interesting point. He said we’re in a Gutenberg moment. What he meant was the technology is at a point that it will dramtically impact the way people and ideas are communicated like movable type did.

Friedman’s final thought was that people need to remain optimistic about the future as Americans have historically. He said if Americans don’t do that then the country and the world will be a much different place. Different  in a bad sense not a good one.

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